The NAU Archery Club (AC) is finalizing its plans to represent the United States in the international archery competitions. When the club started in 2011, they didn’t expect that it would one day compete at the regional and national level.
“Every year we try to put a new group together. Our ultimate goal is getting more members to join the club,” said Drew Ned, full-time coach and club adviser.
Archery does not typically attract the attention of students, but current members are doing their best to get their classmates interested in the sport.
“One of the plans is to try to get a full team to be competitive in the West Region,” Ned said.The club is planning to host the tournament at NAU later this spring. According to Ned, the club is anticipating stiff competition at the regional and national levels, including events sponsored by the United States Colleges Archery Association and USA Archery.
“A lot of schools come out to compete in the national tournaments and that is the reason we are trying to come completely prepared,” Ned said.
The club has also increased its method of recruiting new members.
“We travel to California in the process of marketing the club,” Ned said.
He anticipates the club will have a strong team to compete at the national level in the coming years.
In spite of the aggressive training programs and opportunities in the region, the club has a maximum of 17 members. This is a main reason current members are heavily engaged in attracting new archers and coaching them to become part of the U.S. national archery club.
The club has also encouraged participation by introducing reward programs such as scholarship programs for student athletes and some honors at the national level.
“They can get some rewards if they have 3.5 [GPA] and above and recieve scholarships if they are awarded,” Ned said.
During training sessions, the club provides different types of programs for new and experienced members. Experienced shooters compete with others from nearby colleges, while those who want to participate in the practice can be trained by coaches over the weekend.
In spite of being a national sport, AC has not received a direct source of funding for its activities. Members have to pay for their own trips to and from California, which creates many challenges for the team.
AC often organizes fundraisers for recruiting trips and archery competitions. However, members are not required to a pay participation fee, just the general club sports fee through NAU.
Ned is a certified archery trainer and has helped train club members since 2012. His assistant coaches have not obtained certificates from the U.S. Archery Association, but he anticipates that once they are certified, they will help him in coaching.
In addition to competing, club members enjoy playing a sport that enhances their creativity and allows them create friendships. These bonds grow stronger as the club members improve their archery skills and prepare for competitions.
“The club is important to me because through it I am able to travel, compete, make amazing friendships and life-long memories,” said club president, Morgan Pinkerton.
For students, sports and other activities help relieve the stress of the day and make it easy to forget about the challenges encountered in the classroom environment.
“They come and they lose everything that they were stressed about … clear their minds,” Ned said.
According to Ned, joining the club does not require special skills. The only requirement is the ability to shoot an arrow using a bow, and a positive attitude toward the sport.
“We will teach you how to shoot with a bow and an arrow even if you don’t have archery skills,” Ned said.